The first of the cast interviews for Sinbad features newcomer Elliot Knight who had a big task to undertake when bringing life to this new incarnation of the character.
Check out the character profile and interview below for this brand new version of Sinbad:
Sinbad is our charismatic but reckless hero. a cheeky charmer, he’s a guy who loves life and is up for anything. He’s a natural leader, but it’s a quality that has often landed him in trouble. Sinbad lives in a shabby apartment in Basra with his brother Jamil, grandmother Safia and mysteriously catatonic mother Zahirah. With Jamil along for the ride, Sinbad spends his time working scams to scrape together enough money to put food on the table.
When we first meet Sinbad, he is brawling in an organised street fight. Having Jamil place bets on his victory he, literally gambles with his own life. But when the fight goes horribly wrong and Sinbad accidentally kills his opponent, it sets off a chain of events that leads to Lord Akbari, the challenger’s father, having Jamil killed in revenge.
Devastated that Sinbad caused the death of his own brother, Safia punishes him with a curse that leaves him unable to settle on dry land for more than 24 hours until he atones for his sins. Boarding trading ship The Providence, Sinbad sets sail as a rootless man. Changed irreversibly by the death of his brother, he embarks on a journey that will help him face the consequences of his actions, while finding his place in the world and learning what his destiny really is.?
How would you describe your character?
Sinbad’s legendary stories have been told for hundreds of years, but now he’s back with a bite. Our Sinbad is a young and fearless leader who’s always ready for action. He is the spirit of adventure. He doesn’t see the danger that others normally run from and he loves to feel alive. He’s a hard risk-taker who loves charming his way in and out of situations. Sinbad also cares a lot about his family and, later on, the people he will meet and come to call friends.
How does your character fit in with the story line?
We are with Sinbad from the very beginning of the story and get a glimpse of what his life is like – risky, exciting, dangerous, but all in a day’s work for him. However, something unexpected happens that rips Sinbad’s world from beneath him and he’s sent spiraling into a terrifying chase for his life. cast out by his grandmother and with nobody else to turn to, he is forced to flee from his home, leaving everything he has ever known and loved behind him. In a magical turn of events, he finds himself the emerging leader of a new group of people, all from different walks of life, thrown together by fate. The story then follows Sinbad and his new friends on their adventures as he continually risks his life and sometimes, without realising, the safety of those around him in his thrilling search for freedom, justice and atonement.
How did you prepare for the role? unofficially I started preparing for Sinbad years ago in my back garden, with sticks as my weapons of justice that would defeat the evil plastic-cone guards. I’ve always loved adventure, myth and magical stories, so most of my preparation was already well underway. There was only a week between me getting the role and then flying out to Malta so there wasn’t a lot of time to do much else! But after arriving and meeting the stunt coordinator, we sorted a workout schedule to cram into the weeks running up to filming. I also watched some of the previous Sinbads in action, like John Phillip Law. Technology has progressed since those stop-motion days but the magic of the story is still what makes it compelling to watch and, for me, the most valuable thing to learn.
What makes this incarnation of Sinbad different?
Previous perceptions of Sinbad have had him as a slightly greedy middle-aged man who sails the seven seas for what he loves most: food, wine and women. Our Sinbad has to fight and steal to feed his whole family and can’t afford wine. and the women? Well, when there’s time in between! He is young, charismatic and reckless but also sensitive, caring and determined. He is a hero for our generation who I think people of all ages will relate to on some level; whether it’s young children, teenagers or adults, it’s still about the magic of the story.
What was it like filming in Malta?
Malta was a fantastic place to film. There were so many locations that fit right into the world we were trying to create, it made the job much easier. We also had a wonderful Maltese crew who were a huge asset to the production. We had a lot of fun. Not to mention the intense heat in the summer months – that wasn’t bad at all!
What was it like filming on green screen?
I loved it. There’s nothing more creative for an actor to do than run for your life from an imaginary prehistoric/mythical creature, or fly effortlessly through the air when you’re really just hanging from a piece of rope with three people straining to pull you up from the other end. The green screen scenes were some of the most fun to shoot. The fight scenes were my other favourites.
Which is your favourite monster from the series?
The roc has to be my favourite from the series, although I wouldn’t call her a monster. she’s pretty much the only one who Sinbad doesn’t just run away from. although there are some really great magical creatures in the series, I like the roc the most because in a lot of ways she is very similar to Sinbad. They both feel trapped and long for freedom, but neither of them knows how to get it. They empathise with each other, then end up saving each other’s lives. I think if we were to see more of the roc there would be a great
friendship between the two. I hope it happens.
What is your most memorable moment from filming?
My most memorable moment would have to be turning 21, having got the job, celebrating with the entire cast and crew, on a beautiful beach in Malta. That’s a night I will never forget.
Why do you think myths and fairy tales are so enduring?
Great storytelling. It’s the magic of the story behind the characters and the action that makes them so compelling. Andy Wilson (Director) was wonderful for this. He got us to understand from the beginning that all great stories that have been told for hundreds, if not thousands, of years have a similar structure that appeals to people of all ages. Not only are they entertaining, but they also teach us great lessons, which makes them an invaluable family resource. Sinbad’s story today is very much one of learning important lessons that take him from being a boy to a man and teach him to respect and appreciate life, which is something we should all learn to do more. All great stories have elements that appeal to everyone, are hugely entertaining, and make you feel like part of the gang. It’s not just our adventure, it’s yours too.
Who are your favourite mythical heroes and heroines?
When I was younger I used to watch Xena and Hercules on TV. I loved feeling adventurous. So the park round the corner would become my mythical world and I would go out and have adventures of my own. I liked Robin Hood too. Anyone who could put the world to rights and kick some ass along the way was a winner for me. Only where appropriate, of course.
What is the worst bit of advice you have ever been given?
Somebody once told me that I would never make it onto TV. Seeing them again after I’d got the job was interesting! I’d never tell anyone what they are or are not capable of. But if someone does tell you that you’ll never get somewhere, it should only drive you on to achieve it and prove them wrong.
Why should people watch Sinbad?
I trust that people will see for themselves why they want to watch. It’s a classic mythical hero story that we’ve upgraded for a modern audience and packed with magic, romance, myth, action and adventure, with shocks and twists at every turn. It’s a great family show that kids, teens and adults can live through together. This is the biggest and most exciting that Sinbad’s voyages will ever have been. It’s definitely not one to miss.
What has it been like working with Sky?
I’ve really enjoyed creating the series for Sky in Malta. I’ve worked with a lot of talented and inspiring people and learnt a lot myself. As this is my first professional job, it’s been great to learn from the more experienced actors and see them create such magnetic characters and bring them to life – like Sophie Okonedo and Timothy Spall to
name just two. To have so much fun making a show this epic has made the last 10 months priceless.
What are your favourite types of show to watch with your friends and family?
My family enjoyed watching Merlin and I love Game of Thrones. Magic and adventure triumphs again!
What three things would you take with you for a long voyage on The Providence?
My music collection, a pen and paper, and those malted milk biscuits with chocolate on top. The fun would be endless.
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By Ian M. Cullen